Entries in bombs (9)


Cellphone Video Reveals Florida Teen's Plan to Blow Up School

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Cellphone video just released by prosecutors offers a chilling view into the mind of a Florida teenager who in 2011 was charged with plotting to kill teachers and students with bombs at his Tampa high school.

Jared Cano, then 17, wrote a manifesto that detailed his plans for an attack in August 2011 on the first day of classes at Freedom High School in Tampa, Fla., from which he had been expelled in March 2010.  Police arrived at the home where Cano lived with his mother to arrest him.  In his home, police recovered bomb-making material, including fuses, timers, shrapnel, accelerant and plastic tubing.

In the recently released video, Cano outlines -- to the minute -- his plans to blow up Freedom High School.

"For those of you retards who don't know who I am, I'm the Freedom High School shooter in Tampa, Florida.  Well I will be in a couple months," Cano says on the video.  "My plan is to set a bomb here at point A, here at point B, point C and point D.  Then I got to get to the side entrance of the school by 7:24.  The bombs blow at 7:26."

Cano never got the chance to go through with his deadly plan because a friend tipped off police and he was arrested.  In addition to the bomb-making materials at his home, investigators found a manifesto and illustrations detailing his plans.

"We were probably able to thwart a catastrophic event," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said.

The newly released cellphone video shows that Cano not only intended to kill as many students as possible, but that he specifically targeted two teachers who Cano said did him wrong.

"[I'll] Come through the door then shoot everybody at the front desk," he says on the video.  "Mr. Costanzo's office is right here, I've got to kill him.  Mrs. Carmody is here I've got to kill her.  Mr. Pears is here, I've got to make sure he doesn't die, because I like him."

At times during his boastful rant, Cano smokes marijuana.  In the clip, he says that he would retrieve a stash of weapons hidden near the school and come back in.

"I'm going to come in and advance on the courtyard where there'll probably be at least sixty people," he says.

While he lays out the details of his master plan, Cano also offers a solution to stopping him and others like him.

"If you don't like it," he says, "just find a way to find people like me and just line us up and shoot us."

Cano has been charged with threatening to throw, project, place or discharge a destructive device.  He also faces charges for possession of bomb-making materials, cultivation of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

Having been jailed since August 2011, Cano will be sentenced on Dec. 5, after he pled no contest to two charges.  His defense attorney has said he plans to call the teen's family as character references, ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV reported.  He has hopes of getting time served.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police Seek Phoenix-Area Flashlight Bomber

Dick Luria/Photodisc/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- Three discarded flashlights-turned-bombs have exploded in the past month in the Phoenix area, injuring five people and prompting police to warn the public about the potential danger of discarded flashlights.

Authorities said they fear that whoever is making the devices will eventually increase the power of the improvised bombs, and someone might die.

Janelle McKee was at a Glendale, Ariz., strip mall on May 13 when she noticed a yellow flashlight sitting by a palm tree.  She picked it up, and when she turned it on, it exploded.

“It sounded like a shotgun, big loud boom,” McKee said, adding, “I definitely won’t be picking anything up off the ground anytime soon.”

A day later, a landscaper found a flashlight in a ditch and he, too, turned it on.  The device injured two people when it exploded.

There was another explosion on May 24 at a Salvation Army distribution center near downtown Phoenix.  Two people were injured.

“We often get very strange things that are donated, but we never get things that are donated with the purpose to do harm,” the Salvation Army’s Capt. John Desplancke said.

Authorities believe the alleged bomber has spent time thinking about the devices because the bombs have been placed in an object that people would instinctively turn on.

Authorities say the devices have fairly sophisticated circuitry.  The device is triggered when the flashlight is turned on, and the battery emits an electrical charge that ignites an explosive.

“Are we concerned that since there has been more than one?  Absolutely, we’re concerned,” Tom Atteberry, special agent in charge at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in Phoenix, said.

“We do not want an innocent child or victim to pick one of these flashlights up and get injured or killed, so we take this very seriously,” he added.

Authorities have put up 22 billboards in the Phoenix area to warn residents that yellow flashlights could be dangerous and should not be touched.

Police believe the same person is responsible for all three attacks because the three flashlights that exploded had the same design and the chemical explosives.

The recovered flashlight bombs have been sent to a lab for testing.

The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the flashlight bombs.  Anyone with information is asked to call 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-283-2662).

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Georgia College Girl Arrested for Alleged Pipe Bomb 'Hobby'

WSB/ABC News(CORNELIA, Ga.) -- Her father says she's just a daddy's girl with some unladylike hobbies. The FBI and the ATF disagree.

Celia Alchemy Savage, 23, was arrested by federal and local officials after a Wednesday search of her Cornelia, Ga. home allegedly turned up two pipe bombs, a pistol, suspected marijuana and methamphetamine and alleged drug paraphernalia. She is being held on federal weapons, explosives and drug charges, and has been denied bond.

According to the criminal complaint, when an ATF agent asked Savage what there was to do in Cornelia, Ga., she said, "Blow things up." The agent said that Savage also stated that she "likes to blow up toilets in the woods."

Savage allegedly told authorities that "manufacturing explosive devices and detonating them for recreation was her hobby," and that she had built five to seven pipe bombs for fun.

"Savage stated she was aware that it was wrong, or against the law, to manufacture the destructive devices," alleged the ATF agent in the criminal complaint, "but claimed she has a passion for it."

The complaint alleges that the drugs, drug paraphernalia, "numerous pills," pistol and bomb components were found in a bedroom of the residence that Savage described as her "lab." According to the ATF agent, Savage admitted that she had used marijuana "the previous day and methamphetamine two (2) months ago."

A video of Savage blowing up a toilet in the woods can still be seen on YouTube. Savage's father, Tommy Savage, confirmed to investigative reporter Mark Winne of ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV that his daughter was the person seen in the video.

Savage's Facebook profile, which is also still on the web, lists "explosives" as an interest, her political orientation as "anarchist" and her status as "Push to test. Release to detonate."

"I despise all law enforcement and any governing authority," she says in her "about Celia" section. "I am not one for selective targeting but mass destruction." Various photos show Savage with high-powered weapons, holding a snake, riding a motorcycle, in a kickboxing stance and posing with her father and a dead animal.

The profile also includes a paraphrased quote from Scott Adams, the creator of the quotes from George S. Patton and U.S. Grant: "There is no problem that cannot be solved by the use of high explosives."

Savage's father Tommy told Winne of WSB-TV that his daughter was a daddy's girl and a church-going college student who is not a member of any radical group. "She likes to hunt and fish," said Savage. "She loves shooting. She goes sky diving. All kinds of stuff like that that you wouldn't really typically think of a young lady doing." He denied that she was a drug user, but said he worried about some of the people with whom she'd been hanging out.

Tommy Savage also said, however, that his daughter shared his distrust of government. "I think everybody ought to be able to set on their property and do whatever the heck they want to," he told Winne.

Tommy Savage declined a request from ABC News for comment. His daughter's court-appointed lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Concerned About Growing Al Qaeda Bomb Plots

Saudi Interior Ministry/Landov(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. government is highly concerned that 30-year-old Ibrahim al-Asiri, the man behind al Qaeda’s latest attempt to bring a bomb aboard a U.S.-bound plane, has been actively training a new wave of bombmakers and that these disciples, schooled by al Qaeda’s chief bombmaker, have fanned out to develop their own plots at times and locations of their choosing, ABC News has learned.

“Asiri is trying to train as many people as he can, that’s what has us concerned,” a high ranking official briefed on the new development told ABC News.  The new intelligence was the focus of high level briefings Tuesday in Washington.

An administration official confirmed ABC News' reporting, saying, “Asiri does appear to be training others so that, if he is taken off the battlefield, his expertise will not be lost.  He is not the only bomb maker in AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) to worry about.”

Officials are concerned that Asiri is working on other bomb designs, including bombs surgically implanted in terrorists, even picture frames and radios, as shown in an al Qaeda video from 2009.

The bomb in the latest foiled bomb plot that was delivered to intelligence agents by a double agent posing as a suicide bomber was described by officials as an upgrade to the underwear bomb used three years ago in a failed attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound jetliner.

Now being studied by the FBI, this new design is described as being made with a different chemical formula, with dual detonation systems to make it easier to set off.

Asiri, ABC News has learned, has stepped up training of bombmakers in the last year, in part because of increased operations targeting senior al Qaeda leadership in Yemen.  Radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a U.S. drone last fall.  Asiri is now apparently concerned that he will be captured or killed as well.

“It’s the spaghetti effect, they’re are hoping to throw enough on the wall that something sticks,” said a source who has been privy to high level briefings.

AQAP, al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, is known for its ideological purity and for carefully screening its recruits.  Yet, in the latest plot, a double agent was able to infiltrate the organization, posing as a suicide bomber, and then delivering the bomb to intelligence agents instead of carrying the device onto a U.S.-bound plane. 

The Obama administration confirmed Monday that the bomb plot, timed to the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death, had been disrupted last week.

Sources tell ABC News that Asiri wants as many bombmakers out there as possible.  His plan is that the more bombmakers there are, the more plots there will be and the more potential for success.  Another concern is that this generation of al Qaeda recruits “looks like the kid next door,” the source said, and would not show up on any terrorism watch list.

Asiri’s desire to see his deadly legacy continue even if he’s neutralized has prompted an urgent effort by U.S. intelligence officials to identify and locate Asiri’s disciples.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New York Arson Attacks Under Investigation as Hate Crimes

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Four arson attacks in Queens, N.Y., are being investigated as possible hate crimes against Muslims, police said.

The attacks, which took place around 8 p.m. Sunday, targeted an Islamic center housing a prominent Shiite mosque, a bodega and two private homes.

Police and fire officials say at least two of the attacks appear to have stemmed from a dispute at the bodega, where a customer of Guyanese descent argued with an employee.  The customer allegedly returned to the bodega and tossed a Molotov cocktail behind the counter.

Authorities were investigating whether the employee worshiped at the Islamic center, which was hit by a similar firebomb made from a glass Starbucks bottle.

"No matter what the motivation was of the individual who threw Molotov cocktails in Queens last night, his actions stand in stark contrast to the New York City of today that we've built together," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement Monday.

The door of the Imam Al-Khoei Foundation Islamic center was blackened by the blast but the building did not catch fire.

"We thank Allah (SWT) that no major damage or injury was caused by the blast," reads a message on the foundation's website.  "The Foundation reiterates its resolve to continue to serve the community and to strive to bring love where there is hatred, light where there is darkness and enlightenment where there is ignorance."

A fifth attack involving an incendiary device thrown through the front window of a home in neighboring Nassau County at 9:40 p.m. is also under investigation.  The device did not ignite a fire, and no injuries were reported.  NYPD officials say the firebomb matched the Molotov cocktails used in the first three Queens attacks.

Although none of the attacks caused any injuries, flames that erupted at one of the homes took more than 60 firefighters about 40 minutes to control.  The other home attacked, which also serves as a Hindu temple, was hit by two Molotov cocktails thrown from a van that sped away.  The bottles fizzled out.

All five incidents are under investigation as arsons.  At least some appeared to target Muslims.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Possible Explosive Device on Gas Pipeline Investigated in Oklahoma

Shane Bevel/Bloomberg via Getty Images(OKEMAH, Okla.) -- Authorities are investigating a possible explosive device which was attached to a gas pipe along an Oklahoma highway, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

The device, which a spokesperson for the Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office told ABC News was "the real thing," was discovered Wednesday morning by an official with Oklahoma's native Muscogee (Creek) Nation outside the small town of Okemah and reported to the sheriff's office.

Bomb technicians from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol along with several agents of the FBI and the sheriff's office responded to the report and were able to remove the device from the pipeline to examine it at an "inert" location, FBI spokesperson Clay Simmonds told ABC News.

"They are currently examining the device and, should it turn out to be a legitimate explosive device, they will render it safe," Simmonds said.

Simmonds described the device as small pipe bomb-like, about one foot by one foot with visible wires and a timing device. While the device is still under careful investigation, Simmonds said that the initial impression by investigators was that it could have only done limited, if any, damage to the pipeline.

A highway that runs parallel to the gas pipe has been closed off and is expected to stay closed until the device has been rendered harmless and investigators sweep for a possible second device, Simmonds said.

Simmonds said there are no suspects at this early stage, but the plan is to start that investigation in earnest once the area is safe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Man with Suspicious Materials Detained Near Pentagon

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- A man who was carrying suspected bomb making materials and pro-al Qaeda literature was arrested in Arlington National Cemetery early Friday morning, triggering a bomb scare that snarled Washington's morning rush hour. The FBI, however, determined that the material in his backpack was harmless.

"There was not a device and the products found are determined right now to be inert," said Brenda Heck, special agent in charge of counterterrorism for the FBI.

The material in the suspect's backpack tested negative as a potential explosive, sources said.

Sources told ABC News earlier that the backpack contained what was believed to be ammonium nitrate and spent ammunition for an automatic weapon. The material was reportedly contained in four large Ziplock-type bags.

Sources also said there were pro-al Qaeda statements found in a notebook that contained mostly notes for a financial class. There was also was a page containing words "al qaeda," "Taliban rules," "mujahidin" and "defeated coalition forces."

Two separate law enforcement sources told ABC News that law enforcement identified the suspect as Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Va. U.S. Park Police said no charges have been filed against him yet.

Melaku is a naturalized citizen and lance corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, 4th engineer batallion out of the Baltimore, Md.

Sources say they haven't found any ties to a terrorist organization.

Police and the media congregated at Melaku's home in Fairfax County, Va. where two people were seen being questioned by authorities and FBI agents. The FBI and Fairfax police were seen huddling in groups and putting police tape to prevent people from entering the area. They went into the townhouse with bomb technicians without a search warrant under the "public safety hazard" issue.

An FBI spokesman would not confirm whether the house was indeed Melaku's or his parents' residence, but did say it's connected to the suspect and there was no safety hazard.

Melaku allegedly told police in Arlington when he was captured that there were other "devices" in the area and also the location of his vehicle. But the FBI said there was no reason to believe other individuals were involved and they believe the suspect acted alone.

Police were investigating a vehicle, a red 2011 Nissan, that contained materials authorities were examining to determine if it was a bomb or other weapon. The material was reportedly neutralized, according to law enforcement spokesmen at the scene.

Park Police Sgt. David Scholsser said in a news conference the man was found at about 1:30 a.m. in the Arlington National Cemetery, located near the Pentagon. He was first caught by the Ft. Myers police but then ran into adjacent Arlington National Cemetery, where he was apprehended by the military. When questioned, Melaku was uncooperative but then took the police to his car.

Melaku was arrested last month for smashing windows and stealing valuables from 27 cars in Leesburg, Va. He was charged with four counts of grand larceny although the police did not find any discernible ideological motive.

A man by the same name and birth month was also arrested in Fairfax County for reckless driving and failure to stop. He pleaded guilty and paid a $200 fine for the former charge and $30 for the second charge.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


San Diego 'Bomb Factory' Man Gets 30 Years in Prison

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A Southern California man who assembled what may have been the largest cache of homemade high explosives in U.S history has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.

George Jakubec must also pay $600,000 in restitution to the owner of his rented Escondido home, which was so packed with bomb materials that authorities had to burn the house down, and to the landscaper who discovered the "bomb factory" by literally tripping over explosive chemicals in the yard, injuring himself.

Under an agreement with federal authorities, however, the unemployed software engineer pled guilty to bank robbery instead of bomb-making. Authorities agreed to drop the bomb charges if Jakubec, a 55-year-old Serbian immigrant, would admit to robbery.

The cache of explosives was discovered on Nov. 18, when landscaper Mario Garcia stepped on something in Jakubec's yard and triggered an explosion that injured his eye, arm and chest. When federal and local officials came to investigate, they found eight pounds of the homemade explosive HMTD buried in the yard, and more HMTD inside the one-story wooden ranch house north of San Diego. They also found nine detonators and 13 unfilled homemade grenades with attached shrapnel.

San Diego County Deputy D.A. Terri Perez called the discovery a "bomb factory" and said it was "the largest quantity of these types of homemade explosives at one place in the United States."

Authorities decided to set the house ablaze rather than risk serious injury by trying to remove the material. A judge okayed the destruction after an FBI bomb technician testified that Jakubec's backyard was a "minefield" and that a bomb tech walking in the yard had stepped on something that made a loud pop and burned the bottom of his shoe.

"He had the makings of a bomb lab," said Perez. "He had precursors to making these explosives. He had detonators, he had grenades and so essentially he could make these destructive devices, and had completed several of them."

According to court records, Jakubec was on probation after pleading guilty to shoplifting at an electronics store in 2009.

Jakubec faced three bank robbery and one attempted bank robbery charges, as well as charges of possession and manufacturing explosives. Though the bomb-making charges were dropped as part of his plea deal, Jakubec has admitted that he had explosive materials at his residence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Suspicious Devices Detonate at Maryland State Offices

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) -- A pair of small packages burst into flames inside two government office buildings in Maryland on Thursday, causing minor injuries, evacuations and a federal probe into who might have sent what appears to have been incendiary bombs similar to devices recently mailed to embassies in Rome and in Greece.

The explosives were described as incendiary devices that looked like a small padded envelope or a book. One exploded at the Department of Transportation headquarters, located near the Baltimore airport. The other erupted at the Jeffrey Building in downtown Annapolis, which is home to several departments, including the Maryland secretary of state and the the Maryland Office of Homeland Security.

Five people were being treated for minor injuries, but there were no fatalities, Ed McDonough, a spokesperson for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, told ABC News.

It is too early to tell who may have planted the devices, which detonated shortly before 1 p.m.
The devices are similar in both size and packaging that alarmed Europe in recent weeks. In Italy, where authorities found a string of such suspicious packages at embassies, anarchist groups claimed credit.
Packages were described as "bursting into flames" a federal source said, rather than an explosion. McDonough said it was a relatively small detonation that released a sulfuric odor. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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